CLEARWATER, Fla. – In the ongoing saga of Phillies leadership, Jimmy Rollins agrees with teammate Jonathan Papelbon’s assessment (see story) that there was a void in that department last year.
“Identity might be the word,” Rollins said. “We had a lot of moving parts last year. Parts coming in, a lot of new parts coming in. Regulars not being around, not being together, you know that bond that forms from being together.
“The bond was broken. We’re back together now. The glue is back together. You can have a lead singer, but without the man playing the guitar and drums it’s a different band.”
The Phillies were without stalwarts Ryan Howard and Chase Utley for the first half last year. Both are now healthy.
Rollins, who was active all of last season, said he was not offended that Papelbon said he saw no leadership on the team in 2012. He added that he and Papelbon talked about team leadership before a golf tournament on Thursday.
“He brought up the feel of the team and how much better it is this year compared to last year,” Rollins said. “We were just talking in general. We were talking about the difference between this year and last year - the whole feel, having the whole gang together, having the whole team together even from the start.
“We probably didn’t have too much of a chance last year from the jump. That wasn’t fun. We found a way to be competitive and make it exciting for a month or so.”
After going 37-50 in the first half, the Phillies rallied in the second half to finish .500. They hope a healthy team will enable them to get off to a better that this season. Winning cures all and makes leadership issues go away.